The Park Cave consists of a system of tunnels beneath the Park on the Ilm which were originally excavated at the end of the 18th century for use as a beer brewery. Today the tunnels located twelve metres underground shed light on 200,000 years of geological and human history. A presentation room is available for events of all kinds.

Visit

The Park Cave is located twelve metres underground between the Ilm escarpment and Belvedere Allee. Stairs near the Liszt House lead to the tunnel system below which ends at the so-called “Nadelöhr” (Needle’s Eye), an artificial opening in the cliff near the Ilm River.

The tunnels of the Park Cave wind their way through loose layers of gravel and floodplain sediment. On the tunnel ceilings one can spot fossilised plants and animals which had once lived on a prehistoric lake.

Tour through the underground tunnels
Tour through the underground tunnels
Tunnel with water drainage channel, a so-called “Rösche”
Tunnel with water drainage channel, a so-called “Rösche”

The exhibition at the museum presents the history of Weimar travertine and its geological study which began with its description by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his son August in 1823. Photos and reports by contemporary witnesses document the history of the Park Cave during World War II. A presentation room is used for musical performances, fairy-tale readings for children, and natural history lectures in the series “Dialogues with the Earth”.

History

Drainage tunnels – Underground walks – Air raid shelter – Subterranean museum

The Park Cave was built at the behest of Duke Carl August of Saxony-Weimar and Eisenach who dreamed of operating his own beer brewery. Between 1794 and 1796, a 500-metre tunnel system was built in the park for the purpose of storing beer and draining the process water. After the original plans were scrapped, workers continued extracting sand and gravel from the tunnels which resulted in an extensively branched tunnel system. From 1810 to 1830 members of the court and park visitors occasionally used the tunnels for underground strolls. In the final days of World War II, a section of the tunnel system was expanded into an air-raid shelter. This is where the museum rooms are located today. From 1992 to 1999 many of the tunnels which had been backfilled or had fallen into disrepair were restored and opened to the public again.

Museum box “The Park Cave Expedition”

Flemar the Bat accompanies you on a thrilling excursion underground. He tells you fascinating stories about how layers of stone were formed, as well as various highlights of Weimar history. Conducting small experiments, you’ll learn how fossils are made and what secrets are buried deep inside the stones today. After your tour of the Park Cave, you can continue your expedition through the park and into the city.

Projects of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Thuringia, represented by the State Chancellery of Thuringia, Department of Culture and the Arts.

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